The Wandering Mind

Honest LDS History – The Kinderhook Plates

Posted in Mormonism by wandren on 6 September 2007

I found a blog tonight, Mormons Talk, in which a question was asked as to whether or not the LDS Church is open and honest about some of the uglier points in its history, and whether or not this information is readily accessible.

The main problems I see with The Church’s handling of these issues are:

  • the Church only addresses these problems when it comes under heavy criticism by mainstream media, and
  • official Church materials “spin” the truth to reflect more favorably on it than the honest facts suggest, rather than simply admitting that they were wrong, corrected the mistake, and learned from it.

A search on for the words “kinderhook plates” had one result:

Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign, Aug 1981, 66

A recent electronic and chemical analysis of a metal plate (one of six original plates) brought in 1843 to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, appears to solve a previously unanswered question in Church history, helping to further evidence that the plate is what its producers later said it was—a nineteenth-century attempt to lure Joseph Smith into making a translation of ancient-looking characters that had been etched into the plates.

Joseph Smith did not make the hoped-for translation. In fact, no evidence exists that he manifested any further interest in the plates after early examination of them, although some members of the Church hoped that they would prove to be significant. But the plates never did.

The complex yet fascinating story behind this little-known event in Church history follows: [Click here for Article]


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